I grew up in a small town in Germany, surrounded by fields, forests and the Rhineland Nature Park. Most of the summer vacation in my early days I spent at my grandparent’s farm, located at the outskirts of Germany’s central mountain area. Since there was no internet, no mobile phones and hardly anything on TV for kids, we spent most of our time outside, even in winter. I was up close with nature pretty much all year long.

It is no surprise that nature is the most important part of my work, both as landscape paintings and paintings of flowers (or plants in general). Now, that I live in the Southwest of the Netherlands for more than a decade, the different landscape slowly creeps into my art. Here are no mountains or even hills, hardly any forests, but a lot of water, from town canals to the huge harbor area to the North Sea itself.

But whatever I create, color and the contrast of light and shadow are always my main focus. In fact, color is what I always notice first, before any forms or details. The variation of colors in nature keeps on fascinating me, as do light and shadow and how they give form to everything.

I see my landscape and flower paintings as representational in various degrees of abstraction. I do not paint in a photo-realistic fashion and do not want to compete with photography. My paintings show my memories and feelings, and I hope they bring about similar memories and feelings in my viewers.

During the corona pandemic, I found another way to express my view of things with my creativity: minimalist art of lines and shapes. I find minimalism and a very good metaphor for 2020: The need to limit oneself in many ways, to keep a distance and perhaps have to experience how quickly life can be over – this led me to look for the beauty in small and simple things and appreciate what is there and what I have. Keep it simple seems like a very nice way to see life and everything that goes with it. My art as well. Or at least some of it.

As so many artists, I have been drawing and painting since my early childhood. I did not follow a formal art education, but took many classes, attended workshops and am constantly developing my skills as I go. I strongly believe that studying the basics – perspective, proportions, colors, light, etc. – is the best foundation for any artist to be able to express their unique view of the world through their art.

For me, the path from the first idea to the finished painting is both a comforting walk along known tracks and an exciting (and sometimes scary) exploration of new lands. Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Tanja Udelhofen photo